The muzzle velocity of an M16A4 service rifle is three thousand one hundred ten feet per second. We know this from basic training, from infantry school, from our workup.
Engulfed in heavy dawn light near the gurgling Euphrates, among date palms and thick grasses, we stand around a dying man.
A corpsman presses bandages on the man’s wounds while we wonder about the nomenclature and specs of the man’s weapon.
The river lazes east.
It is early November and steaming blood from the man’s chest and our breath converge in the air and we try remembering a time we didn’t know.